The Trail of Dreams is on its way to Washington, DC. Juan, Carlos, Gaby, and Felipe left Miami’s Freedom Tower yesterday and are currently walking past Hollywood and nearing Dania Beach. According to walker Juan, the team skipped over the county line together when they crossed from Miami-Dade County to Broward County.
The New York Times and Associated both covered the kickoff, with a special emphasis on the bravery and sacrifice of these uncommon college kids. From the AP article, which came out in newspapers like the Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The group set out Friday to begin a 1,500 mile journey they are calling the “Trail of Dreams,” from Miami’s historic Freedom Tower to Washington, D.C. The goal is to raise support for legislation that would include a path to citizenship for eligible illegal immigrants.
The four, all immigrants themselves, plan to walk the entire distance, no matter the weather. They expect students and other supporters to join them along the way and plan to arrive in the capital May 1, which has become a day of immigrant rights rallies in recent years.
All are top students at local colleges and campus leaders. Some are now here legally, some are not. All say they are willing to take the risks that come with bringing attention to the plight of students who, like themselves, were brought to the U.S. as children and are now here illegally.
Juan, one of the walkers, has the first blog up on the official site, reminiscing on what was going through his mind when he decided to start walking:
â€œIâ€™m leaving,â€ I told Felipe. â€œI canâ€™t keep waiting for them to give me an answer, hoping that maybe SOMEDAY, someone will actually listen to my question. I canâ€™t just stay here in my daily cycles acting like this way of life is manageable or bearable. It isnâ€™t. It can NEVER be bearable to lose the people that we love. It can NEVER be bearable to wake up each morning and know that people in our communites have disappeared -taken in the darkness of the night by those that claim to be keeping our communities ‘secure’.â€
Support from all parts of the country – as well as similarly creative initiatives – Â will be needed from all corners of the country in order to create the momentum for the type of immigration reform that young leaders and their families need. From the West Coast,Â Northern California student activist Ju Hong wrote with excitement about the hope the walkers bring to all dreamers. :
So then, my question is, will you sacrifice with them? I believe through sacrifice is the only way to make our dreams into reality. Imagine how difficult for them to make a decision to sacrifice their education, their time, and their own body. They are completely exposing and risking themselves just to represent on behalf of 12 million immigrantâ€™s dreams.Â Despite of all the odds and challenges, they are willing to fight for the dreams that will determine our future. Through this movement, I can clearly see the sense of urgency. They cannot wait, I cannot wait, and we as DREAMers cannot wait for another decades to fix the broken immigration reform. We cannot wait and time is now! I can see it, I can see it. So letâ€™s make these studentâ€™s dreams into reality.
And for those who are wondering how the walkers deal with the ever-present fear of immigration enforcement, Felipe has a coping tip that should inspire fellow dreamers. From the New York Times:
â€œWe are aware of the risk,â€ Mr. Matos said by telephone. â€œWe are risking our future because our present is unbearable.â€
UPDATE: Here is a media round-up that the Trail of DREAMS has received:
TAMPA BAY- Immigration Reform march begins!Â http://bit.ly/4nqamB
NYT- Advocates ofÂ ImmigrationÂ Overhaul Alter Tactics in New PushÂ http://bit.ly/8tSJ9B
CANADIAN PRESS Students start walk from Miami to DC to push for changes inÂ immigrationÂ lawÂ http://bit.ly/8DFpWa
Miami Herald- Undocumented children pin hopes on revival of Dream ActÂ http://bit.ly/4uwcJL
AP-Â 20 Youth trek from Miami to DC for immigrant rightsÂ http://bit.ly/4vNtA4
Imagine 2050- Students walk from Florida to DC for immigrant rights http://bit.ly/7b5toR